Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me. The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.Luke 10:38-12
This passage is a favorite of people everywhere and for good reason. Martha is easy to relate to and Jesus’ response makes us all stop to wonder: are we choosing the better part?
A while ago, someone visiting my home inquired about the painting of the Annunciation we have hanging over our fireplace. As I spoke to her, I told her that it reminded me to say yes everyday. She chuckled as she described how many no’s fill her day with a young child, and I had to reassure her that I too say no a million times a day! But the yes I was speaking of was a deeper yes: the yes to love.
What do these two interactions have in common? Well, I think as Martha ran around focused wholly on serving she forgot that deeper yes, that yes to remain united to love. What she was doing was not bad, just disconnected. And it happens to us all the time. We get swept up in the demands of the day forgetting the one task to which we are called above all.
The Lord see’s our work and the burdens we carry, but he is more concerned with our heart. He is more concerned with drawing us ever nearer to him. Mary followed that call and sat at his feet while Martha busied herself with external things.
Ultimately, we are called to be both Mary and Martha. To cultivate a relationship with him and let it permeate every inch of our lives. To sit at his feet and learn from him, and then go out into the world and serve with love. To depend on his strength when we are burdened. To refuse to let the bitterness of serving seep in. To have a holy defiance toward the parts of us that wander away from him.
Martha was rebuked not for her work but for allowing her work to make her lose sight of love.Magnificat, July 2022
As we go through our day today let us be ever mindful of the deeper yes burning in our hearts. The yes to love no matter the circumstance. The yes to choose Jesus no matter the cost. We are anxious and worried about many things but he asks for only one.
I wanted to leave you with this prayer:
We set out to feed the five thousand, doing what we can to the best of our ability and entrusting the rest to you. Planting tiny seeds, we strain and labor in your name, hoping our work here will not be in vain. The mother knows the weight of the work. By your grace, she knows too the rest and peace that comes to meet her. Many cry out, crushed beneath the burden, and yet they do not seek your rest. They do not believe it is meant for them. How can one accomplish all without your blessing? Without the assurance of doing your will and resting in your most Sacred Heart?